The Lope: November 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Where is Ace Jackalope? (episode 26)

Special Thanksgiving Edition

It's turkey day and Ace needs a tryptophan fix so he's donned his buckskin hunting outfit to track this bird.

Why might we assume this turkey is a bit dry by now, and where is Ace Jackalope?

Our Little Thanksgiving Classic

You know how you've watched It's Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown and Miracle on 34th Street every year at this time since you were a little kid and love them every year?

Well, we at the don't have anything that cool, but we do have this little ditty that shows the true meaning Thanksgiving: killing tasty birds and eating them.

Take your pick and click on one version of our murderous drama, which was first shown in 2005 as "Wanted: Turkey for short term relationship" and then re-edited in 2006 as "If I Did It".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You Can Help Route 66

If you've enjoyed the architectural diversity of Route 66, you might want to read this story at Route 66 News.

Here's the deal. For the better part of the last decade, businesses along the eight-state run of Route 66 have benefited from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program which provides, among other things, matching funds for renovations, restorations and improvements of so many of the structures we hold dear.

Aside from businesses benefiting from this, we, the tourists, did too. And who else did? Nearby businesses as well as local and state governments through greater sales tax revenues generated by people like you and me who just had to have a sandwich from Eisler Brothers, take a picture of the round barn, nest in the conical splendor of the Wigwam Motel or feast on New Mexico neon.

The program expires in 2009 but New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici (R) introduced a reauthorization bill (S.3010) this past summer. It's now part of one of those huge packages of bills - an omnibus public lands bill - we always hear about. The bill may be voted on this coming Monday, November 17, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (D) gets his way.

This is language from a summary of the bill:

Sec. 7304
S. 3010 Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Reauthorization Act (Sen. Domenici, R-NM) (H.R. 6046; Rep. Wilson, R-NM)
Cost: $3 million over the 2009-2013 period and $5 million thereafter
This bill authorizes appropriations through FY 2019 to carry out the purposes of Public Law 106-45 (relating to the preservation of the cultural resources of the Route 66 Corridor and authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to provide assistance for the preservation of the Corridor).
The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program provides cost-share grants to support the preservation of historic Route 66 buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural
landscapes in the eight states through which the route passes. Assistance is also provided to support research, planning, oral history, and education outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66.
Examples of grants include the following:
• John Osterman gas station rehabilitation in Arizona ($28,000)
• Wigwam Motel rehabilitation in Arizona ($10, 685)
• The town of Amboy, California, rehabilitation ($30,000)
• Ariston Café rehabilitation in Illinois ($13,000)
• The Curt Teich Postcard Collection Archive in Illinois, the largest collection of postcards in the world and part of the Lake Country Discovery Museum ($8,000)
• Santo Domingo, New Mexico Trading Post emergency stabilization grant ($17,000 NPS, $17,000 match)

The problem is, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn (R) has raised objections to the whole of the omnibus bill and one of the particular bits he has criticized is the Route 66 Corridor Preservation program. This isn't a Republican vs. Democrat thing, by the way, the omnibus bill contains programs favored by both sides.

Oh, did I mention the reauthorization calls for only eight million dollars in funds? Compare that to the amount you hear for about anything the government buys. It isn't a drop in the bucket of the recent bailouts.

As I mentioned, there's more on this at Route 66 News. You can voice your concerns to Senator Coburn with this form on his website, or call his offices: Washington - 202-224-5754, Tulsa - 918-581-7651, Oklahoma City - 405-231-4941.

One of my readers, Mark Reddig of Land Line Now, suggests that those of us living outside Oklahoma take a different tactic:

"A note from someone who's business involves contacting members of Congress every day:

Don't call Coburn unless you're in his district. He will ignore those who can't vote for him.

Call your own Senators, both of them, who work for you. Don't hesitate to talk with a staffer. You're unlikely to get the senator, and the staffers pass everything along; it's their job. And even with those who sound as if they're blowing you off, believe me, they're paying attention and the message does get through.

Also, make sure you're registered to vote - when you call, they'll often ask your name and zip code. Nearly all congressional offices have a computer program that allows them to see whether you're registered, and how often you vote. The more elections you vote in, the more they pay attention. Remember, for them, listening to constituents is about keeping themselves in office.

Have the bill number and name handy. Make sure you mention it at least twice in the phone call, so they get the message loud and clear. Ask when you might be able to follow up - and then do so. Calling more than once indicates that you're paying attention.

Be polite, be professional, be calm. Indicate where you stand on this bill clearly. Don't threaten to take away your vote; they don't respond well to threats, but they do understand that this message is implicit in your call, so it's unnecessary.

Follow up if possible with a letter, but don't mail it - fax it. Mailed letters are now sent through an irradiation facility (for security reasons in the post-anthrax era). As a result, the paper is often so fragile, and the ink so damaged, it is unreadable.

Faxed letters arrive immediately at your senator's office, fully readable. And written words that back up a phone call have far more effect than a phone call alone.

E-mail is dicey. Some members pay close attention. Some are so thoroughly spammed with mass e-mail attacks that they really don't pay all that much attention. It's silly in the 21st century, but it's a reality on Capitol Hill

All this being said, there may not be an immediate problem if the bill is set aside by the lame-duck Congress and has to be reintroduced by the next Congress. Still, a show of concern can't hurt.

Remember, the bill in question is "S. 3010 Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Reauthorization Act"

Now, lets take a look on just a few of the places that have benefited from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program so far. These are just a few, by the way, based on photos I have handy. I may well add more, later.

The iconic Wigwam Motel in Holbrook received $10,685 in matching funds in 2007 for "repair and upgrading of the original plumbing system, and with repairs to the exterior concrete wall bases."

The owner of the ghost town of Amboy, California, received $30,000 in 2007 to "assist with the important first steps of developing a preservation plan for select buildings in Amboy. The small town of Amboy is a pristine representative of Route 66’s roadside architecture and history." (2005 photo)

The Ariston Café of Litchfield, Illinois received $13,000 to "assist with the
preparation of a long-term preservation plan and new roof

The Blue Swallow Motel of Tucumcari, New Mexico received $8,000 in 2007 through the New Mexico Route 66 Association to "assist with the repair of broken windows in the motel lobby, and with neon on the façades and eaves of the buildings." You can clearly see some of the damage in this Feb 29 photo.

New caretakers of the Triangle Motel building in Amarillo, Texas, received $26,056 for the "preparation of a preservation plan and implementation of emergency stabilization needs" of this building, which is eligible for listing on the National
Register of Historic Places.

Palms Grill Café of Atlanta, Illinois, received funds for restoration of its crumbling facade. "The long-term goal of the project is to restore the café to service as a living history museum or possibly a working café." (2006 photo)

The 1930-vintage Independent Oil and Gas/Phillips 66 Gas Station in Baxter Springs, Kansas received funds, administered through the Baxter Springs Historical Society, and was rehabilitated for use as a Visitors Center. I've been there recently; it's very nice.

Joe and Aggie’s Café of Holbrook, Arizona received funding to make roof, structural, and electrical repairs.

The 1925 vintage Eisler Brothers Store in Riverton, Kansas received $4,694 for a new
roof and electrical system upgrade.

Also in Kansas, the Brush Creek Bridge, commonly called Rainbow Arch Bridge after its type of construction, received $10,862 for repairs

The owners of the Seaba Station near Chandler, Oklahoma, received $23,000 toward a new roof, electrical upgrades, and masonry repairs.

Also in Oklahoma, the Arcadia Historical and Preservation Society received $10,500 for repairs to the roof, siding, door frames, and window frames of the 1898 Round Barn.

Quite a few neon signs along Route 66 in New Mexico, like this one in Moriarty, have been restored with help from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation program. I'll add photos of more of them, later.

In the meantime, please do think about getting the word out to your various representatives. Thank You.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day, Ace would like to salute WWII veteran Mr. L. V. Oxendine. L.V. served as a tank driver under General Patton in Germany and France, but to this day does not like to talk about the war.

His hobbies are helping friends and strangers, keeping company with his lady friend, Miss Joy, and influencing sporting events via a miraculous process by which distant coaches can hear his advice through the television set.

Thank you, again, to L.V. and to all the other veterans without whom we might not be basking in the afterglow of a free election.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama

Obama spoke in Kansas City on October 18. See more of our pictures of that event, here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



One vote is like a note in a symphony. Enjoy making music with your countrymen today.

This just in: Confirming recent speculation, Ace Jackalope announced this morning that he has decided to end his long and spirited campaign for President of the United States.


Well, a remark by Mark Russell - that Reagan always wore his suit jacket in the oval office and that in Clinton's case, it didn't matter - reminded Ace that presidents are supposed to wear pants. Ace doesn't have, or want, any pants.

Ace then considered the various presidential options for his endorsement:

McCain/Palin - The problem here is that Sarah Palin likes to shoot small furry animals. Based on the recent record of Vice President with guns, it's reasonable to assume she'll shoot something while in office, and it might be Ace. Also, her respect for science is lacking. Ergo, no Palin, so no McCain.

Montana, ambassador of Route 66 - A respectable rabbit who ran her own presidential campaign this past Spring. Unfortunately, she is no longer living. Even still, as a rabbit and a deceased one at that, she is more qualified than Palin.

Pat Paulson - He was a legendary comedian whose slogans included "I’ve upped my standard, now up yours.", "If elected, I will win." and "All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian." Problem is, he's also dead.

Alice Cooper - Alice Cooper concerts would be no fun with the Secret Service mucking about, so our favorite Republican who sings of necrophilia is out.

Obama/Biden - Well, we've already got our own stock photos of Obama, so why not? Besides, our beloved Kansas Governor, whom Ace initially wanted as a VP, supports Obama and she's pretty smart - much smarter (and prettier) than Sarah Palin.

Also, you may remember our initial slogan implied a complaint about the other candidates not giving pie enough weight in their campaigns. Obama mentioned several types of pie when we saw him in Kansas City and a video from Philadelphia shows him mentioning pie 15 times, so maybe he's a good guy.

In our local election here in Hutchinson, Kansas, we're supporting the renewal of the present quarter-cent sales tax. It's not new; it's something we're already paying and it supports road work as well as the Cosmosphere and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum.

Aside from the fact that the money would come from our property taxes if this thing doesn't pass, I always think of what it would be like to explain to my friends out of town that we didn't support our museums.

Again, go forth and vote. It feels good and they'll probably give you a little sticker.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I Wanna Be Elected

It occurs to me that after today these photos will be less relevant. I caught Alice Cooper's show twice in September - at Miami, Oklahoma, and Hutchinson, Kansas.

One of Cooper's encores was "Elected", in which he sings a mock campaign speech.

The coolest part was that he used actors in Obama and McCain masks.

At first, they fight.

Then Cooper tells them to get along.

That's quite a grab.

The less said about this one, the better.

After "Obama" and "McCain" leave the stage, people emerge with campaign signs. I'm pretty sure they are usually local volunteers.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day of the Dead

There is a great richness in our world, much of it lent by the many ethnic festivals and celebrations. Día de los Muertos - The Day of the Dead - is one of my favorites.

Now, I spend most of my time in central Kansas and usually have to really scratch for something to photograph in order to pay tribute to this celebration of the lives of those now departed.

In previous years I've used souvenirs and photos from a trip to Mexico as in 2005's Happy Day of the Dead and 2007's Dias de los Muertos.

This year, I lucked out as a local business in Hutchinson, Kansas, had a Day of the Dead alter display, courtesy of the Hutchinson Community College sculpture class.

All of these photos were taken at Spanish Interpreting and Translation at 115 South Main in Hutchinson, during the "Third Thursday" event on October 16. Third Thursday is a promotion in which many of the local businesses stay open late, bands play, fun is had, etc. If you're near Hutch on a third Thursday, you really should go.

Ace had actually had a sombrero and a Day of the Dead kerchief in his huge wardrobe stash. A good traveller and culture buff is always ready for anything, you know.

The display furnished sugar cookies in the shapes of skulls with hats.

The sculpture class even made a dog. It's not unusual to see a bit of whimsy in Day of the Dead displays, and often animals are featured.

If you're wondering just what Day of the Dead is, Palomar College has a rather detailed website dedicated to it, here. And here's a good summery by Carlos Miller of the Arizona Republic. Of course, Wikipedia also has an entry.

It's beautifully complex, but briefly, Day of the Dead is a pre-Hispanic holiday celebrated which honors the dead with alters, feasts, candy skulls, etc. Like so many pre-Christian holidays, the Catholic church sought to subvert it with their own observances, in this case All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. In some Hispanic subcultures, Day of the Dead is celebrated over two days, November 1 and 2, with the former being dedicated to children and the latter to adults.

Ahh, how I love it when Catholicism tries to wipe out a pagan holiday and only succeeds in morphing it into something that survives today. Candy skull, anyone?